Denmark Diet: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
Internet is overflowing with diet plans that swear to give head-turning results within a limited space of time. Whenever you stumble upon one, always weigh up the reality of the situation and try to mentally pencil out a possible outcome to avoid putting a dent in your health. Today we give our undivided attention to a new diet trend on the block – the Denmark diet. Keep on reading to unwrap the health impact together with the pros and cons of this weight loss approach.
What is a typical diet in Denmark?
The major idea is that the Danes focus not on the cutting their calorie intake and limiting consumption of entire food groups, but on eating healthier foods.
As a rule, people who live in Denmark tend to enrich their diet with healthy fats and proteins which results in lower carbohydrate intake. They usually consume less meat and more fish, especially fatty fish, like salmon. If they eat meat, they usually opt for lean cuts of high quality meat.
The Denmark diet also includes fresh fruits and berries, which people usually have as their snacks. They are rich in antioxidants and could significantly lower your risks of numerous diseases (2, 8). Root vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, and parsnip are also an important part of this diet. The Danes also tend to eat rye bread, as it is nutrient-dense and contains magnesium, iron, B-complex vitamins and high amounts of fiber, which can support your heart health (4). The Denmark diet also includes nuts and seeds.
What is the Denmark diet?
Of course, you can stick to the eating habits, which are popular among the Danes. However, there is also a 13-day Denmark meal plan, which gains popularity among the growing amount of people. The idea of the diet centers around a 600 calories per day rule, mostly coming from high-protein and low-calorie food items. It is quite a low energy diet and following it for more than 13 days could take a massive toll on your health. The diet restricts your protein, fiber, fat, carbohydrate and sugar intake. Because of possible nutrient deficiency, the dieters also have to take vitamin supplements. Moreover, it is important to drink approximately 2 liters of water a day.
A possible Denmark diet menu
If you have decided to give this diet a try, you’ll need a list of foods to create a meal plan. However, there is more to avoid than to eat. For example, you can eat lean cuts of beef, eggs, coffee, lettuce and some other veggies, and it is crucial to avoid alcohol. Below you will find an example of the Denmark diet menu:
You can have a cup of black coffee with one cube of sugar for breakfast. Your lunch can include two hard-boiled eggs, one tomato, and spinach. Besides, make sure to cook spinach in water without added fat. Your dinner can consist of steak and a Denmark salad, which includes carrots, cabbage, peppers, and leeks.
The breakfast and the dinner are the same as on the first day. Eat a small yogurt and a slice of ham for lunch.
Eat a toast and drink a cup of black coffee with a cube of sugar for breakfast. Don’t add butter to your toast. Two hard-boiled eggs, a slice of ham and a Denmark salad will be a perfect lunch for you. Your dinner can consist of tomatoes, celery and a piece of your favorite fruit. The celery should be cooked.
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The breakfast is the same as on the day 3. Eat 1 can of natural yogurt and drink a glass of orange juice (approximately 200 ml or 6.7 fl oz) for lunch. Your dinner should include about 8.8 oz (250 g) of cow cheese, 1 grated carrot and 1 hard-boiled egg.
Eat a big grated carrot for breakfast. Your lunch should include about 7 oz (200 g) of steamed cod. To improve the taste of your dish you can add 1 teaspoon of butter and some lemon juice. Eat 1 celery and about 7 oz (200 g) of roast beef for dinner.
Have a toast and a cup of black coffee with a cube of sugar for breakfast. Your lunch should consist of 1 big carrot and 2 hard-boiled eggs. ½ chicken breast and 1 lettuce with lemon juice and oil will be your dinner.
Drink 1 cup of unsweetened tea for breakfast. There is no lunch today, drink plenty of water to reduce hunger. Eat about 7 oz (200 g) of lamb steak and one apple for dinner.
Drink a cup of coffee with a cube of sugar for breakfast. Eat one tomato, about 14 oz (400 g) of spinach and 2 hard-boiled eggs for lunch. Your dinner will consist of about 7 oz (200 g) of roast beef and 1 lettuce with oil and lemon juice.
The breakfast is the same as on the day 8. 1 can of natural yogurt about 8.8 oz (250 g) of ham can be your lunch. Eat about 8.8 oz (250 g) of roast beef and one salad with oil and lemon juice for dinner.
Eat a toast and drink a cup of black coffee with a cube of sugar for breakfast. Eat 1 lettuce, 1 slice of ham and 2 hard-boiled eggs for lunch. Your dinner can include one boiled celery, one tomato and your favorite fruit.
Eat a toast and drink a cup of black coffee with a cube of sugar for breakfast. Eat some yogurt and drink a glass of orange juice (approximately 200 ml or 6.7 fl oz) for lunch. Your dinner should include 1 carrot, 1 hard-boiled egg and about 8.8 oz (250 g) of cow cheese.
Eat 1 big carrot for breakfast. Your lunch should consist of about 7 oz (200 g) of steamed cod. Add some lemon juice and one teaspoon of butter to make it even more delicious. Approximately 8.8 oz (250 g) of roast beef and one celery will be a perfect dinner for you.
Your breakfast should consist of a toast and a cup of black coffee with a cube of sugar. Eat one big carrot and 2 hard-boiled eggs for lunch. Eat about 8.8 oz (250 g) of chicken and one lettuce with lemon juice and oil for dinner.
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How much weight can you lose on a Denmark diet?
The supporters of the diet claim that it should allow to lose 10-20 pounds and even more. However, when you cut your energy intake that much, you would most likely lose weight, as well as face a number of negative side effects like fatigue, nausea, constipation and diarrhea.
Is the Denmark diet safe?
This 13-day eating plan is what people infamously call a crash diet. It has way too many major restrictions. One that particularly stands out is an extremely low energy intake that no one hoping for long term improvements should deem sustainable. That’s why following this diet for an extended space of time equals to flirting with unhealthy eating habits.
First, a low energy intake – 1,200 calories for women and 1,800 calories for men – could cause malnutrition (6). Moreover, strict diets which promise rapid results because of a significant calorie restriction, won’t bring long-term results. Most dieters tend to regain the weight they lost once they go back to their previous eating patterns.
Second, people who consume less than the minimum amount of calories recommended per day usually face calorie-deficit fatigue caused by the lack of essential nutrients (3).
It is common knowledge, that your body needs energy literally for everything. It includes digestion, breathing, pumping blood, and living in general. You extract this energy from the food you consume. When your calorie intake is too low, your body slows down your metabolism and starts breaking down muscle to get the energy; this process is called glycogen. Because of all these processes, you might face digestive issues.
People who like to play with fire and experiment with crash diets also tend to experience mental sluggishness. It happens because of glucose deficiency, which is necessary for the proper functioning of your brain. Moreover, rapid weight loss resulting from such diets may cause gallstones and abdominal pain.
Lack of essential nutrients can lead to a number of health issues as well. For example, lack of vitamin E, which is vital for the proper functioning of your immune system, may lead to various diseases. Calcium deficiency may increase your risks of bone fractures and cause osteoporosis.
Such a significant limit of calories can make your muscles smaller. As a result, various physical activities, including walking, might turn into a challenge for you.
Possible side effects of the Denmark diet
There is a bunch of other side effects, which can be caused by low-calorie diets, for example (5):
- Constant hunger
- Weakened immune system
- Slowed metabolism
- Heart irregularities
- Kidney infections
- Menstrual irregularity
In conclusion, as you can see, this diet is far from being intuitive and has a number of risks for your health. Such a low daily energy intake and rapid weight loss can cause a number of health issues (7). That’s why it is better to avoid crash diets like this. To lose weight and stay healthy it is necessary to stick to a balanced nutrition plan, which will provide your body with all the necessary nutrients to live a healthy lifestyle (1). However, if you have decided to give this dietary plan a try, it is critical to consult a healthcare professional like a dietitian and check your health status in order to prevent the unwanted consequences for your body. Remember that your wellbeing is your number one priority.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A guide to eating a balanced diet (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Berries and their health benefits (2020, webmd.com)
- Eating to boost energy (n.d., health.harvard.edu)
- Health benefits of rye (n.d., wholegrainscouncil.org)
- Lo-Cal Dangers (n.d., michigan.gov)
- Low calories diets (2018, familydoctor.org)
- Rapid weight loss (2019, webmd.com)
- Top 12 healthful fruits (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)